Mother Nature has me confused. Last week it was frigid and the snow was falling, causing delays and offering the opportunity to slow down, to stay cozy. This week, I feel like springtime is just around the corner. I suppose this little taste of Spring is just a tease and there’s still plenty of winter weather to come. But most pressing on my mind is what do I want to eat when I can’t make sense of whether I need to feel warmed or cooled?
I’m going to keep this post shorter than usual, as I have a lot of other pressing matters to tend to right now. My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is on Saturday, so our family is joyously celebrating this milestone with our friends and family, from near and far. It’s an exciting time for us, I’m trying to savor every moment despite the stresses and endless to-do lists involved in the planning.
I’ve declared my love for heirloom beans repeatedly in my recipes, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve made another bean-centric recipe for this week! I enjoy eating beans all year round, whether in soups, dips, or salads. Beans come together perfectly with root vegetables - that’s a good thing, since it’s the season for these boldly-colored veggies. Roasting beets, sweet potatoes and red onions brings out the inherent sweetness in each of these gems. Freshly chopped green herbs adds to the earthiness of the dish, without making it feel too heavy.
Don’t let the photo fool you - those are white beans, which have been stained pink by the beets! Pretty in Pink, just in time for Valentine’s Day next week! If you’d rather have pristine white beans in your salad, omit the beets and substitute another root vegetable (or cruciferous veggie) in its place. The beauty of this recipe is its adaptability. In warmer weather, I may substitute zucchini for the beets and tomatoes for the sweet potatoes, swapping oregano for the dill…the possibilities are endless.
My to-do list is calling me! I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-reprieve from the wintery weather and have lots of fun plans on your schedule for the weekend. I’ll be back next week with another easy, nourishing and delicious recipe!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Roasted Roots & White Bean Salad
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 pound dried white beans, soaked in room temperature water for 8 hours
1 pound red beets
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 large red onion
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 C chopped fresh dill
3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 t honey
sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse and drain the beans, then place in a large saucepan. Cover by 2-inches with cool water and slowly bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pan partially and lower heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring periodically, for 20-30 minutes, until beans are cooked through but still firm. Drain and rinse with cool water. Place drained beans in a large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, roast the vegetables. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sweet potatoes into large chunks and the onion into thick wedges. Place on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil. Roast for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan partway through cooking and stirring to prevent the onions from burning. Once golden brown and crispy on the edges, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
To cook the beets, wash them well and package into bundles in aluminum foil. Place each package on a baking sheet and bake for approximately one hour. The beets are cooked when they are still firm, but yield to the tip of a sharp knife. Be careful, they will be very hot within the aluminum foil packets. Once cool, peel the beets under cool running water (the water will help the skins to peel more easily) and then cut into large chunks. Set aside.
Assemble the salad. Add the sweet potatoes, onions and beets to the bowl with the beans. Toss the chopped fresh herbs into the bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil, and the honey. Pour the mixture over the bean-vegetable mixture and gently toss everything together. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.
Serve salad at room temperature.
recipe yields 8 very generous servings
leftovers keep well in a covered container for 2-3 days, add additional fresh herbs when re-serving
use your favorite mixture of root vegetables and freshly chopped herbs